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On July 1, 2013 a new law becomes effective that significantly increases the penalty for violation of the state’s financial responsibility law when the driver at fault is uninsured and bodily injury or death occurs in an accident.
The new law will make the offense a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable with jail time of up to 11 months and 29 days and a fine of up to $2,500. Currently, the offense is classified as a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of $100.
“This is a step in the right direction for the state,” said Brennan Paris, CIC, CRM, the Executive Vice President of PIA. “PIA is committed to pushing legislation that will produce a reduction in the number of drivers in this state who are uninsured and in violation of the financial responsibility law.” It is estimated that one-in-four drivers on Tennessee’s highways are uninsured. PIA has heard from some members who already have seen an increase in drivers seeking insurance coverage.
Public Chapter 479 was sponsored by Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) and Rep. Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville) in response to an accident in Clarksville caused by an uninsured driver who crossed three lanes of traffic and hit an oncoming car head on, resulting in the death of the driver who was hit and injury to his passenger, who was the driver’s cousin.